T Nation

Flaxseed Oil


Is flaxseed oil a good source of ALA and omega 3?

I remember seeing various things being said about it being bad for testosterone levels.

Can anyone confirm?


Yes it is. The Flax Oil I use periodically has 8g ALA Omega 3, 2g linoleic acid, and 3g oleic acid. It is made by Spectrum Organics.

I wouldn't imagine it being bad for T levels, if anything it should be good.


DHA and EPA are apparantly the omega 3's that the body is most short on, not ALA. The body can convert ALA into either, but it can't convert a lot of it.

Flaxseed oil is also a source of phytoestrogens. And anything that smacks of estrogen is like kryptonite to bodybuilders. How big of a concern is this really? I dunno.

I wouldn't consume flaxseed oil exclusively, or in mass quantities (like some folks crush shots of olive oil).


How is flaxseed oil a source of phytoestrogens?


There are substances in flaxseed oil called lignans--which are phytoestrogens (plant based substances which closely resemble the structure of estrogen); however, these lignans may actually act as estrogen antagonists by binding to the estrogen receptor and preventing the binding of much more potent estrogen-like substances (such as zenoestrogens). I really don't know off hand how strong the evidence for this potential action may be. Insofar as it exists, it's a good thing.

Of greater concern to me is a study cited by Charles Poliquin in which store samples of various brands of flaxseed oil were tested and, according to Poliquin, almost all were rancid! I now use only organic golden flaxseeds. These are available at numerous stores with a nutrition section--e.g., Kroger's supermarkets. The golden flaxseeds have a higher fat content than the brown flaxseeds. In addition, flaxseeds are a great way to add fiber to protein drinks. I just grind mine up in my Magic Bullet.



Make sure that you are not confusing the two ALA's.

The ALA in Flaxseed Oil is Alpha-linolic Acid, and the anti-oxidant ALA is alpha-lipoic acid. The two are very different compounds despite similar sounding names.

In terms of EFA sources, I would say that your best bet is Fish Oil.


Thank you for pointing this out.